US Country Report
The State of Sustainable Finance in the United States

Country Paper

Authors: Cary Krosinsky   

Published By: UNEP Inquiry   

Date: Feb 2016

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US Country Report

While US financial institutions have at times enjoyed a reputation of being something of a laggard on sustainability issues versus their European counterparts, significant changes and innovations are under way which are beginning to drive meaningful change.

Record levels of awareness on sustainability issues in the US, including from millennials, are accelerating activities such as:

  • Increased levels of sustainable and responsible investing.
  • An increased focus from the largest US banks and other financial institutions on sustainability risks, lending practices and related opportunities.
  • US insurance companies and related regulators are also developing and evolving sustainability risk frameworks.
  • Federal and State policies are accelerating the ongoing US low carbon energy transition.
  • Financial innovation is driving meaningful change in many investment sectors while social innovation and culture development also continue to evolve.

With energy costs curves seen as changing for the long term, levelling the playing field for lower carbon energy production, and interest in having a positive impact with investment dollars from millennials on the rise, a top-down, bottom-up race is under way which has created an important new dynamic leading to these actions.

Accelerating these trends further can help make the US a leader on both designing and enabling sustainable financial systems.

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